Monday, March 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: Beans


Just like eggs, we eat a LOT of beans. Full of protein, heart healthy, and inexpensive as well.

Black bean quesadillas:

This is the number one thing that we make with beans. We have these at least once a week.

What's nice is they are versatile as well. Throw in salsa, avacado, sour cream, veggies - whatever you got and whatever you want. I like mine with a little ranch, and lots of cheese and lettuce. Brigham dumps hot sauce all over his. So fast and easy!

Bean tacos:

Hamburger is so expensive and can be fatty as well. I've found if you cook a can of kidney or black beans in taco seasoning - just as you would meat - it tastes the exact same and we don't miss hamburger at all.

I'll cook up some kidney beans in taco seasoning and throw them in pretty much any Mexican cuisine to replace the meat.

  • Hard-shell tacos
  • Soft-shell tacos
  • Tostados 
  • Taco Salad

I'm not the biggest fan of enchilada's so I haven't tried any of the several recipes that I've pinned yet, but the theory is essentially the same, just replace the meat with beans. I eventually want to try this Black Bean Spinach Enchilada recipe. Sounds healthy and could be pretty tasty!

If you don't like beans IN your Mexican food, you can be like Brigham and just add some chili powder, hot sauce, and lime juice to some black beans and pair that with a cheese quesadilla, that way you still get your protein.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa:

I've made this salsa a billion times, partly because it's to easy, and partly because it is SO delicious. Even my kids love it. I found the recipe on the back of a Western Family can of Black Beans:

1 can (or 2 cups) of Black Beans Drained
1 bunch of green onions sliced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 can (or 2 cups) of whole kernel corn drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chopped jalapeno peppers
salt and garlic powder to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. EAT.

I let it sit for awhile to marry the flavors, and I like mine chilled. But then I eat it all. We will serve this for dinner with tortilla chips and some Mexican rice or cheese quesadillas. When tomatoes are in season we eat this a lot. It's full of veggies and has your protein with the beans, and it just tastes so fresh. You could also season it whatever way you like. Make it spicy, or add a garlic spin, or put in some cilantro or lime juice. Whatever you want! Ugh, now I'm craving this badly.

Baked Beans:

If you want to take a break from the Mexican bean meals, you can always make a good dish of baked beans. I have a slow cooker cookbook that has a billion baked bean recipies that I go through and combine a couple of them based on what I have around the house. Slow cooker baked beans are delicious.

Pair them with a baked potato and some corn on the cob. Or eat them with some steamed veggies. Basically, they'll take care of the protein if you're craving some bbq but don't have the meat.

Vegetarian Chili

My husband sure is a fan of chili. There are eighteen hundred different recipes for chili, including vegetarian chili recipes. On I found a Unbelievably Easy and Delicious Vegetarian Chili Recipe. This might be helpful for you to use if you want to try it out.

Just like with the Baked beans, I usually combine a bunch of different vegetarian chili recipes based on what I actually have around my house. Some recipes you can throw in lots of veggies, some are more tomato-y, and some are more soupish. We prefer a more traditional chili recipe at our house and if I remember correctly, the one I linked above sticks closely to that. But you can just research the type you want to make and experiment with the different types of chili since there are SO many options.


I am not a fan of hummus; the texture really gets to me for some reason. Even if I enjoy the flavor, the texture of hummus throws me off and I really don't eat it. However, for the general population, hummus tends to be a favorite which is good because it's high in protein, since it's made out of garbanzo beans, and you can eat it on celery and other vegetables for a super healthy snack. There are tons of recipes for different variations of hummus, which I would recommend because garbanzo beans are so cheap and store-bought hummus can be expensive. 

There is one recipe that has been tempting me and that is Avocado Hummus.

This recipe has simple ingredients and, maybe because I love avocados so much, actually sounds good to me. I'd have to try it to find out, but I am veeerrry curious. For all you other hummus-lovers out there, with the avocado it has even MORE protein. So you've either got a protein-packed snack or lighter meal for lunch.

Roasted Chickpeas:

A great high-protein snack is roasted chickpeas, or garbanzo beans.

I've made these and they are pretty good. You can make them in many different flavors; this picture is a recipe for sweet and salty roasted chickpeas. I like them because they are crunchy and curb my craving for chips or popcorn.

Garbanzo beans are SO good for you. They have tons of protein and fiber, help prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, prevent iron deficiency, and more. Studies have shown that people who have healthy diets already and eat these everyday have additional health benefits than those who don't.

Seven Layer Dip:

I love seven layer dip. It's easy to make, so so so so good, and a crowd pleaser. 

Although this might not be AS healthy as some of the other bean recipes because you are using refried beans, cheese, and adding sour cream, it still has the protein and you can pile it with salsa, tomatoes, avocado, onions, and whatever other vegetables you want on it.  It really can be a meal in and of itself with the protein, dairy, carbs, and vegetables.

For a casual Friday dinner, we've had huge helpings of seven layer dip and chips with corn on the side or rice. Just make sure that for every can of refried beans, you mix it with one tablespoon of taco seasoning. That's the secret to making it taste awesome. For years I was making seven layer dip without that key step. Finally, I complained to my mom that my dip never tasted as good as hers, and when I described how I made it she quickly pointed out my error. Don't skip that step. You'll regret it.

Those are my basic bean recipes folks. You can find way more if you try and you'd be surprised how much you can do with those things. As my dad would say:

Beans beans, good for the heart,
The more you eat them, the more you fart,
The more you fart, the better you feel,
So lets eat beans for every meal!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Protein Meals with No Meat

I've often been asked how we get protein in our kids and our diets when we rarely buy meat. In fact, we get plenty of protein and use meat only a few times each month. Although our kids are quite the vegetarians and despise most meat, Brigham and I love ourselves a good hunk of beef, chicken, fish, or pork. It's just too dang expensive for us to regularly buy, so we treat it like a treat instead. Eating semi-vegetarian can also be a healthier lifestyle since we are avoiding many of those fatty meats.

So what meals do we come up with that don't include meat? I mean what can you have for your main dish if you don't have meat? Well there are plenty of things. And often the meals don't include too much work to make since meat is usually what you have to spend so much time prepping and cooking.

I've broken down some of our go-to's based on the different kinds of proteins that we use. However, after compiling a list of our favorite dishes, I realized I had way too many for just one blog so I decided to do a new blog segment about mostly-vegetarian meals. Lets make it Meatless Meal Monday...well after today since it's clearly not Monday. This time we'll start with eggs. I hope you enjoy!


Eggs are a staple in our diet. They are cheap and delicious and we have them a few times a week. Here are some of our favorites.

Breakfast burritos:

These are a delicious, hot dinner that you can whip up quickly and make a variety of ways, depending on your mood. Scramble up some eggs, saute some onion and mushrooms, warm up some tortilla's, and toss it all together with some cheese. Sometimes we'll cook up some of the Banquet precooked turkey sausage, that you can buy frozen for a dollar, and throw that in there too, yum.

Or add some potatoes, or salsa, or ham, or whatever you like! Rummage around your fridge to see what you think would be good in your burrito.

I recently pinned this breakfast burrito idea, because I thought it would be awesome to make a bunch and freeze them. Then, when I'm too lazy to even whip up scrambled eggs and tortillas, I can just warm some frozen burritos up. I think next time we have breakfast burritos, I'll just whip up a few extra while I'm at it so we can freeze some for later. Genius.

Eggs and cheese will give you any protein you're looking for, especially if you add ham or sausage. Extra bonus if you use whole wheat tortillas since those are packed with protein as well.

Egg Salad Sandwiches:

Mmmm, we love egg salad sandwiches and you can eat these for lunch or dinner. What's nice is that you can make it ahead of time, when it's convenient for you, and then it tastes even better as all the dressings and eggs marinate together.

Breakfast for dinner:

From scrambled eggs, fried eggs, or omelettes that you can fill full of healthy veggies, we have a lot of dinner options when we make breakfast for dinner. We'll pair ours with toast, hash-browns, and fresh fruit. Omelettes are another great way to change up your eggs by adding whatever you want or have around the house. You can cheesy, veggie, or meaty.

Egg McSandwich:

One of my favorite breakfasts, lunches, or dinners is what I call an Egg McSandwich. Basically an egg McMuffin, but we rarely have English muffins, so I just use bread.

I fry up an egg, slather some mayo and mustard on toast, layer a piece of ham and cheese, then let the hot egg melt it all together. I seriously eat this every morning for breakfast when I'm pregnant. I find the protein keeps me full, which wards of sickness, and it's mellow enough that I don't immediately puke.

We often have these for dinner as well because they are so yummy. Sometimes I have them twice a day: once for breakfast and then again for dinner. They have some fat, however, so I probably should watch my Egg McSandwich intake. But they will provide that hearty protein meal you're looking for and are scrumptious.

Chef Salad:

And finally (I told you we eat a lot of eggs), we really enjoy chef salad. Cut up some hard boiled eggs, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, ham, croutons, green onions, broccoli, or whatever you want, and throw it on some lettuce and spinach, and you've got a super healthy dinner. I let my kids eat some extra eggs or garlic toast on the side as a reward for eating their lettuce well.

And for those puking right now from pregnancy (ahem, Caitlin), as I very well know, lettuce is the devil to barf up - number one worst thing, in fact. So just have all the chef salad toppings without the lettuce. You'll be surprised at how delicious a bunch of hard boiled eggs, avocado, carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, croutons, all mixed together and covered in dressing is. I actually eat it for lunch all the time and call it my peanut salad since I add peanuts (more protein!). It is SO good. With the eggs it because high protein and low carb. Perfect.

Hard boiled Eggs:

Hard boiled eggs make for a delicious, fast, high protein snack. You can cook a bunch up one day and then have them ready to grab and go. I love them. In fact, we fight over them at our house and complain at whoever ate the last one.

So there are our main egg recipes. Simple, easy, delicious, and full of protein. Next up: beans.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making Me Laugh

Being a two-year-old boy, there are many mischievous things that can send Ammon to time out. Just the other day, he noticed that Lydia was trying to put all the animals away in our Old Mcdonald truck, so he promptly grabbed the truck and ran as fast as he could away from her, laughing with glee as she pursued.

What a trouble maker.

He constantly is bullying that girl. She knows she can't lay on the floor, otherwise Ammon will body slam, wrestle, or jump on her. He takes anything she has, and will ruin most of her artwork in seconds. 

Sometimes he unintentionally ruins her life.

While checking out at Smiths, the kids were given five stickers by the nice gentlemen bagging groceries. They were so excited; usually they get one sticker, not five! Ammon promptly peeled all five of his stickers off and stuck them in the same exact spot on his shirt. Lydia waited until we got home and put them in a "safe" spot for later. Hours later I heard death wails from Lydia, which led me to Ammon and his suddenly increased sticker-bling.

Much to Lydia's dismay, when I noticed the nice, tidy row of Lydia's stickers he had made right next to his own, I couldn't stop laughing long enough to give Ammon the punishment she thought he deserved.

Ten stickers all  stuck in the same two spots on his shirt. He sure was proud. I still laugh when I see these pictures and think all the horror he unknowingly caused. I mean, what would you do if you found a strip of stickers in your toy box (Lydia's "safe" place to hide them...)? Surely you would stick them all in the same spot on your shirt immediately too.

Ammon's had his paybacks, however. One morning, we cleared off his plate because he had eaten double the amount of pancakes for breakfast than usual, and we thought he should be done. He thought otherwise.

Like usual, his devastation was quite hilarious to me so I videoed it. Enjoy.

I also recorded another time I couldn't stop laughing because of his anger towards me in timeout. In between crying, he let me have a piece of his mind. This video is after he had already been yelling at me for a good while, and I went to check up on him.

Angry, tantrum-filled toddlers are funny within the walls of your own home.

And then, just because I'm sure you're tired of hearing Ammon cry and about all of the trouble he causes, sometimes he's just a sweet boy who plays in his Spiderman slippers and cooks me delicious things and lets me pretend sip samples of his work, over and over and over again (I think it's because he likes the dramatic slurping sounds I make).

I think he'll be quite the chef saw how he is with his food... :)

This is truer than ever with Ammon running around:

I'll be so upset at him or anything else in the world, but then he'll flash me his cheese grin or do something silly, and I find that I'm laughing. It's the best.

It's fun to have a little boy around here keeping life interesting.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Finally Four

Lydia's been waiting for her birthday to arrive for quite some time. Ever since Christmas she has asked weekly if it's her birthday. Lucky for her, the day finally arrived. And it was a great day.

To start off we went and visited Dad at work, since the kids have never seen his new work before. They were spoiled with lots of treats and thought the world's largest lava lamps were pretty cool. 

Then we met up with my friend Brittany for lunch and let all our little munchkins play at the McDonalds play-place for hours while we gabbed. Lydia has been BEGGING to go to McDonalds to play and eat, but I hate going and sitting by myself. Luckily, Brittany was in the same situation and we were able to turn something dreaded into something fun!

Next was naps, and then the requested birthday dinner of mac & cheese and peas and then, of course, presents and cake!

Lydia requested Rainbow Chip cake and she picked out star sprinkles to go on top. Ever since she picked out the cake and toppings, she has been itching to make it and eat it!

You can probably tell by her face, but she was terrified of the fire at first.

But she overcame it real fast and blew out all the candles by herself, although Ammon was trying to help in the background.

This year Lydia requested barbies and an i-pad for her birthday. HA! An i-pad. That still cracks me up.

She did get one of her wishes, though, as she unwrapped her Cinderella Barbie.

She was pretty excited about ALL her presents. Although, she requested to play with her new Cinderella game from Grandma Becky first, and basically tore open the box to get to it...

I love that last picture of her, she's so beautiful. And all things girl. As she was putting on her socks this morning this was our conversation:

Lydia: I gotta put my ballet slippers on.
Me: Socks are ballet slippers now, huh?
Lydia: I'm a princess and all princesses wear ballet slippers. Well, except for Cinderella because she likes glass slippers.

I just love her imagination. She lives in her own world half the time and it's adorable. She also picks up on so many things, I'm constantly amazed. The other day I was letting her help me make pancakes and she said, "Lets stir together all the ingredients." And I looked at her in amazement and asked, "How do you know that word: ingredients?" She replied in a tone of impatience, "Sid the Science Kid."..."Oh, sorry." She has to keep track of the days and what's coming up in the week, asks what time it is constantly (although I have no idea why since the numbers are meaningless to her right now), and loves her family and friends so, so, so, SO much. And her sleep. She complains if I have to get her up early (which means seven-thirty, seriously girl, most kids are up and at it way before seven-thirty) "Uuuughh! I don't want to wake up early; I just want to sleep in!!"

I can't believe she's this big already. So far, I've always been excited to watch her grow and develop, and haven't really felt any sadness at her getting older and bigger. This birthday hit me hard, however, and I realize she's going to grow further and further from me from here on out. She's developing her own mind, and her own thoughts, and wants more independence (like when she groaned in exasperation when she found out I was substituting her primary class. Really, you're embarrassed by me already?). She's going to go to school in a year! Who's going to play with Ammon all day? He's going to miss her! I'm going to miss her! How can I watch her, and laugh at what she says all day long when she's gone from me? It's exciting to see her grow, but the sadness is finally hitting me. A part of growing means growing away from me and into her own self. I'm not ready yet.

But besides that sadness, I always have loved seeing her develop and achieve more and more and this year's interview shows some of that. If you want to compare with last year's birthday interview, find it here. Some of the answers are the same, and some are not. Happy Birthday Baby Girl, I love you!

Lydia's 4-Year Birthday Interview

1. What's your favorite song? Sleeping Beauty's "I Walked With You Once Upon a Dream" But I don't know the end of it.
2. What's your favorite thing to do with Mom? Play games with her.
3. What's your favorite thing to do with Dad? Play tag.
4. What's your favorite day of the week? Church Day, because I can wear dresses.
5. How old are you? Four
6. Who is your best friend? Kayleen
7. What's your favorite thing to do?  Play with Ammon
8. What's your favorite color? Purple
9. What's your favorite food? Pizza
10. What do you like to do with your family? Play games
11. What's your favorite toy? My princess computer
12. What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom
13. What makes you happy? Ammon when he does funny things.
14. What makes you sad? When someone hits or bites me.
15. What's your favorite show to watch? Tiger's Neighborhood (never heard of this show...ever...or know when she would have watched it)
16. What's your favorite book? Princess books
17. What do you like to learn about? Jesus
18. Where do you like to go? To dance class
19. What's the best part of your birthday? Cake
20. What's your favorite treat? M&M's
21. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Rapunzel
22. What's your favorite movie? Beauty and the Beast
23. What's your favorite game to play? Tag
24. What sports do you like? Soccer and basketball
25. What do you like to wear? Dresses and Tutus
26. Who's your favorite princess? Tinkerbell. Well she's a fairy AND a princess...and she spins...and flies. What are boy fairies called? (Which I had no answer for)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ammon's February Sleep Segment

As you know, I often post pictures of Ammon sleeping because he seems to fall asleep at the weirdest times, and in the weirdest positions. February was no exception and I quickly racked up a few pictures of my little boy's silly sleep habits.

Sound asleep with his legs propped up against the wall. I figured, maybe he was admiring his beloved Spiderman slippers before he fell asleep? Notice he has stolen all of Lydia's blankets again, though she didn't seem to be too upset.

But alas, my slipper theory was questioned when, on a completely different day, I found him in the exact same position, sans Spiderman slippers.

Apparently, he just finds it comfortable? I love how he even moved his pillow and tried to recover himself up in that position.

It seems another afternoon he was contemplating some distressing things before he fell asleep.

It was hard to get a good angle for the picture, but it really looked like he was depressed, all curled up in a ball with his forehead in his hands.

And sometimes he does just sleep like a normal little angel and it's everything I can do not to kiss him back awake.

I just love him all cuddley with his Elmo and rosy cheeks. Peacefully sleeping children are the sweetest things in the world.

Now to just get his big sister to sleep as easily as he does...

Friday, March 1, 2013

You Know You're PMSing When...

Suddenly you must eat all chocolate or greasy foods in sight. And if there aren't any in sight, you must obtain them NOW...

You're feeling very...unapproachable...

Normal things suddenly seem to take much more effort.

Perhaps you may become a bit irrational, but you don't realize it and just feel misunderstood. Or, like me, half the time you DO realize it and the fact that you can feel it happening but feel powerless to stop it...makes you freak out worse.

Or, your daughter simply asks, "Mom, are you going to be my mom forever?" and it takes everything you have to not become a complete basket case and sob uncontrollably.

True story.

After I regained composure I couldn't only think, "What is wrong with me? Oh...Crap! It's coming!" And then I remembered this:

And I just shook my head in sadness. Normally it's one of the funniest things in the world to me because it's so true, but not too much is funny during PMS...

If only things could go a little differently.

**Disclaimer: In my defense, I think the question that Lydia asked is one of the sweetest, most cutest questions ever, and I might have gotten a little teary normally with gratitude that I COULD answer that I am her mom forever. However, the complete urge to sob so completely and the sudden flood of death scenarios in my head where Lydia is suddenly without me, and ends up with a different mom, and her not understanding what happened because I told her I would be her mom forever, and her heart being broken, and her being messed up for life....totally tipped me into the crazy PMS category.